2018

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On this page: Tyburn River - River Westbourne - South Kensington Mews - Waterloo - The City Old and New

 

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THE CITY OLD AND NEW

 

We set off along Bishopsgate stopping to look at the collection of tall buildings lining the street, some finished, some still under construction, like 22 Bishopsgate originally proposed height of 307 metres (1,007 ft), scaled down to 288 because of concerns over air traffic safeguarding, will now probably reach only 278 metres - about 62 storeys. No 1 Undershaft – will be taller than the SHARD and likely to be second tallest tower in Europe … for a while!

Dwarfed by these towers, the tiny the church of St Ethelberger’s survived the Great Fire and the London Blitz but was destroyed in the spring of 1993, during the IRA campaigns, when a 30 tonne tipper truck parked between Nat West Tower and the Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank on Bishopsgate exploded. The bomb killed Ed Henty a 34 year old freelance photographer for the News of the World and caused £350 million of damage in the area. After much discussion about the value of site for redevelopment the church has been rebuilt as a Centre for Reconciliation and Peace.

Leadenhall Building (The Cheesegrater) (Arup) 225 metres tall bought by a Chinese developer in 2017. Gherkin – Norman Foster & Partners – we will see their latest award winning Bloomberg Building this afternoon.

At the entrance to Leadenhall Market a few of the group went into a Hairdressers premises to view some Roman stones still visible in the basement of the shop.

Leadenhall Market, built on the site of the east part of the basilica of the 2nd century Roman Forum, takes its name from a mansion with a lead roof which belonged to the Neville family in the 14thc. ‘Foreigners’ - that is anyone from outside London – were allowed to sell their poultry there. In 1377 ‘Foreigners’ were also allowed to sell cheese and butter. The house and estate were sold to the Corporation in 1411. 1445 a newly built granary was declared a general market. Destroyed in Great Fire. Rebuilt around three courtyards: First yard for beef – also leather, wool and raw hides; Second yard for veal, mutton and lamb but fishmongers, poulterers and cheesemongers had stalls here too; Third yard was a herb market for fruit and vegetables. Present Victorian buildings date from 1881, designed by Horace Jones.

Crossing into Cullum Street, Bolton House presented a stunning Art Deco frontage dating from 1907. Possibly named after Prior Bolton a 16c connection with St Bartholomew’s Smithfield. Outside Bolton House we were greeted by a huge statue of a Brewer’s Dray Horse and cart – an ideal spot for a group photo. Winding round to Fen Court we found the large tomb of Anne Cotesworth who died in 1767. Fen Court was once the churchyard of St Gabriel Fenchurch, lost in Great Fire, and recorded here 1331. It was also close to the site of St Mary Woolnoth church, where The Revd John Newton (author of the legendary freedom hymn Amazing Grace) delivered many powerful anti-slavery sermons inspired by his friend William Wilberforce.

The site was re-landscaped in 2008 with new paving and seating, providing a quiet haven for office workers. The public sculpture The Gilt of Cain was unveiled by Archbishop Desmond Tutu to commemorate 200th anniversary of the abolition of transatlantic slave trade in 1807. By sculptor Michael Visocchi it consists of 17 sugar canes, scattered through the Court, which rise up dramatically from the ground surrounding a slave auctioneer’s pulpit. Words of a poem by Lemn Sissay ‘the Gilt of Cain’ wrap the sculpture. Lemn Sissay born near Wigan of Ethiopean parentage was awarded the MBE in 2010. The poem cleverly combines Old Testament text with the language of the Stock Exchange.

Crossing back we passed under No 120 Fenchurch Street and found an amazing 360 degree projection of London Bridge on the roof space above us. We stood and watched as the picture changed to autumnal trees and blue sky. Along Fenchurch Street we found another interesting courtyard in front of the Lloyd’s Register of Shipping offices complete with the large sculpted steel hull of a sailing ship.

Around the corner to Fenchurch St Station built in 1841. One of the smallest stations in London only 4 platforms. Close by, in Dunster Court, the Tower of All Hallows, Steining, all that remains of a church destroyed in the Great Fire and now maintained by Clothworkers Company who have their Livery Hall in Dunster Court. Samuel Pepys was a previous Master of the Clothworkers.

Catching sight of Minster Court on Mincing Lane one of the group immediately recognised it as the House of Cruella de Ville in the 1996 film 101 Dalmations.

It comprises 3 buildings, linked by glass atrium, with three sculptured horses (1.5 times full size) standing on the steps. The building dates from 1987-91 and has been described by carping architects as "a flagrantly populist pile of peaks and gables, like Hanseatic Gothic done in stiff folded paper".

Mincing Lane derives from Anglo-Saxon mynchens or nuns of a nearby Benedictine nunnery or mynchery at St Helen’s Bishopsgate.

On into Plantation Lane which takes its name from a 1935 office building, Plantation House, which once served as a commodities market for tea and rubber plantations. The whole length of the Lane features Time and Tide an installation by Simon Patterson (2004). Theme references the long and varied history of the City and of the moon’s constant influence on the tides of the Thames which ebb and flow endlessly over time. Of the two elements TIME is represented by a series of textual lists embedded into the pavement which follow a gentle arc along the passageway, charting events, people, places and institutions related to the City’s past and present. Lettering has been hewn from slabs of cream Jura limestone using a precision computer controller water-jet cutting process. Jura limestone is used throughout the new Plantation Place building.

The dark blue stone is called Pietra del Cardosa a sandstone from the Apuan Alps in Italy. The font is Univers 55 Oblique well known for its clarity and simplicity. TIDE is represented by a 41m long by 6metre tall illuminated panel depicting a photograph of the dark side of the moon. After dark the panel becomes very dramatic when lit by coloured light which reflects on the surrounding buildings and sometimes wet floor. Colour is projected from an array of changing LEDs set inside the top and bottom of the framework.

At the end of the lane St. Margaret Pattens. No longer a parish church but a City Guild church since 1954. Dedicated to St Margaret of Antioch – for 900 years – there have been at least four versions the 4th destroyed in Great Fire. Wren built the present church between 1684-87 at a cost of £5,000. Pattens refers to the "patten" or wooden soled undershoes with leather straps - mounted on a large metal ring, that people would strap onto their feet to keep them above the mud and general filth on the streets. The Pattenmakers’ Company has been associated with the church since 15c. The Basketmakers’ Company also has close links. It has the third highest spire in the City.

Along Eastcheap into St. Dunstan’s Hill into the beautiful garden around the ruins of St. Dunstan in the East. A church had been here since 1100 but was severely damaged in Great Fire. Restored by Wren with the addition of a tower. Destroyed in the Blitz.

Suddenly we could see The Monument. Built between 1671/7, following an Act of Parliament after the Great Fire of London which declared "And the better to preserve the memory of this dreadful Visitation. Be it further enacted. That a Column or Pillar of Brase or Stone be erected on or as neere unto the place where the said Fire so unhappily began as conveniently may be, in perpetual Remembrance thereof and such inscription thereon". Designed by Christopher Wren and another of his astronomer colleagues Robert Hooke. Wren wanted to put a gilded statue of King Charles II on the top but the King declined the honour stating ‘I did not start the fire’. Gilded flaming urn on the top. £13,459.1.9d. 311 steps.

The Latin inscription on the north panel reads – In the year of Christ 1666 on 2 September, at a distance eastward from this place of 202 feet, which is the height of this column, a fire broke out in the dead of night which, the wind blowing, devoured even distant buildings, and rushed devastating through every quarter with astonishing swiftness and noise.. On the third day … at the bidding, we may well believe of heaven, the fatal fire stayed its course and everywhere died out. Over 13,000 homes and 87 parishes churches destroyed.

Newly set in the wall at 111 Cannon Street, we found the London Stone which was once in the wall of St Swithin’s church. The origin of the stone is uncertain but was certainly in place as far back as 1198 when it was referred to as Lonenstane. From 16thc has been suggested that it was a Roman milestone, possibly one from which all measurements in the province of Britannia were

taken. Has recently been in Museum of London for safekeeping during nearby building works but a few weeks ago returned here. A thing of many legends and said to keep the City safe. The curator of the Museum of London said of its return here "we are hoping all the modern woes of life might be reversed now the karma is being restored". I think we can agree with that.

The Roman Temple of Mithras has now been returned to where it was originally found in 1952/54 beneath what became Bucklersbury House on Queen Victoria Street, now replaced by the new Bloomberg building above another of London’s lost Rivers the ‘Walbrook’ and opposite the church of St Stephen Walbrook.

Building by Norman Foster and Partners recently awarded the Royal Institute of British Architects Stirling Prize for Architecture 2018. The third time this partnership has won the prize – last time was 2042 for 30 St Mary Axe The Gherkin. The new Bloomberg Building has been designed in two parts. Designed in two parts – at only 8 stories high, designed to be in keeping with the height of the City of London’s pre 20 century fabric. Faced with Derbyshire sandstone the bronze the bronze fins incorporate flaps that open to draw in ‘fresh’ air which is naturally extracted by vents at the top of the dramatic top-lit atrium. The office has 4,000 occupants. It cost more than £1 billion. Bloomberg determined that every innovation in design should be explored to create this exciting building.

The Temple has been re-sited two floors below the new building as near as possible to its Roman position. We finished the day with a quiet exploration of the stunning, atmospheric, new Mithraeum.

 (Report Anita Butt, Photos: Maria Buckley)

 

The rebuilt St Ethelberg's Church on Bishhopsgate after IRA bombing

Tomb of Anne Cotesworth d1767 in Fen Court

Sculptured sugar canes

Slave auctioneer's pulpt in Fen Court

Tower of All Hallows Steining in Star Alley

Insignia of Clothmakers Company

Entrance to St Margaret Pattens Church - Guild church of Patten Makers company

Interior of St Margaret Pattens

Baskets woven by members of The Worshipful Company of Basketmakers

Pattens on display in St Margaret Pattens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Right: the gang line up in front of a sculptured brewer's dray horse and cart in a quiet street

Ruins of St Dunstan in the East

Another view of the ruins of St Dunstan in the East

The Monument

Minster House

Roman artifacts discovered in the construction of the new Bloomberg building in Walbrook

More Roman artifacts

The reconstructed underground Roman Temple of Mithras beneath the Bloomberg building

Another view of the work that had been done

 

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WATERLOO

 

 

SEPTEMBER - We began our walk in the tiny Emma Cons Garden, named for a 19thc social reformer who endeavoured to reform the Old Vic Musical Hall along temperance lines serving only coffee rather than alcohol. Crossing over to the Old Vic a plaque outside the theatre revealed that it opened as the Royal Coburg Theatre in 1818 under the Royal Patronage of Princess Charlotte and Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg and was renamed the Royal Victoria in 1833; rebuilt and reopened as the Royal Victoria Palace in 1871. The plaque bears the rather quaint inscription that it was opened by their Royal HighneSSS. Emma Cons took over in 1880 and it was formally named the Royal Victoria Hall, although by this time it was already known as the ‘Old Vic’. In 1898 Lilian Baylis, Emma’s niece, took on the management and began a series of Shakespearian productions in 1914. The Old Vic Company was established in 1929 led by Sir John Gielgud. The building was badly bombed in 1940. It was this latter company that formed what we now know as the National Theatre in 1963 under Sir Laurence Olivier, which remained at the Old Vic until new premises were constructed on the South Bank opening in 1976. This year is its 200th Anniversary. Under the patronage of the Prince of Wales and in partnership with the Prince’s Trust the theatre will provide work placements for youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds.

On The Cut, which was first laid out in 1798, the Young Vic was established by Laurence Olivier in what was a butcher’s shop and the shop front has been preserved. Considered temporary it is still going strong after 40 years. Major refurbishment in 2006 won the RIBA building of the year award in 2007. On the corner of Geek Street and The Cut a plaque reminded us of the heavy bombing this area suffered during The Blitz when 54 people were killed in a bakery. There was an air-raid shelter under nearby railway arches. In the side streets there are a number of residential artisan properties supported by philanthropists like Octavia Hill and Peabody. The Tait and Benson flats are named after two Victorian Archbishops of Canterbury who lived in nearby Lambeth Palace. Archibald Tait as the first Scottish Archbishop and Edward White Benson instigated the first Service of Nine Lessons and Carols at Truro in 1880, now an established Christmas tradition. In Roupell Street more artisan houses providing basic brick two storey homes for workers was developed in the 1820s by John Roupell whose family had made their money in lead smelting and scrap metal. These desirable dwellings now exchange hands for over £1 million. Windmill Walk takes its name from the many windmills that were once located there to provide power for workshops and breweries. Close to the original Konditor & Cook bakery and cookery school were the premises of both a violin maker and a cello maker. Astley’s street circus was founded nearby in 1768.

In the churchyard of impressive St John’s church Waterloo completed 1824, designed by Francis Octavius Bedford following Napoleon’s victory at Waterloo in 1815, we found a number of items decorated by Southbank Mosaics a local organisation producing items depicting historical and more recent events. Southbank mosaics was based in the crypt of St John’s but has now moved to new premises at The London School of Mosaic in Belsize Park. The mosaics are created by local people

with various social needs in an attempt to provide community support.

Crossing into Waterloo station we looked at the huge WWI memorial over the grand entrance. The first station opened in 1848, the present structure dates from 1922. It took its name from nearby Waterloo Bridge, named after the Battle which took place two years prior to the opening ceremony for the bridge. Part of the station is Grade II listed. It is Britain’s busiest passenger rail station and 5th busiest in Europe. With the interchanges with the Underground and Waterloo East and ‘The Drain’ (Bank to Waterloo) it had a total of 211 million passengers in 2016/16. It was the London terminus for Eurostar from 1994 to 2007 when it was transferred to St Pancras International. The station had a multi-million £ face-lift in 2017. Platforms 1-4 have been lengthened to allow new ten car Class 707 trains to use the station. Eight different Railway Companies use Waterloo as their terminus.

We walked through Lower Marsh one of London’s oldest street markets and now a conservation area. On Westminster Bridge Road we saw the tiled entrance to what was once a private rail station. In the mid 1800s burial space in London was running out so huge cemeteries were built in the suburbs. Trains from here went direct to Brookwood Cemetery near Woking. The railway conveyed the deceased, and their mourners, to their final resting place. At one time it was the largest cemetery in the world. There were two stations, one for non-conformists and another for Anglicans. There were 1st, 2nd and 3rd class coffin tickets so even in death class distinctions could be maintained. There were licensed premises on the station with notices saying "Spirits served here".

William Blake, (1757-1827) painter, poet and mystic, lived on Hercules Road from 1790-1800 and a block of flats bears his name today. A profoundly spiritual man he detested organised religion. He had been apprenticed as an engraver and earned his living providing commissioned illustrations for other author’s books. He lived here with his devoted wife Catherine and had enough room to install a hand printing press in his house which enabled him to publish his own work. His work was hardly known in his own lifetime and even then puzzling and misunderstood. Since the 20th century the more philosophical and mystical undercurrents of his work have become more appreciated. We are familiar with his words in the poem Jerusalem, set to music by Parry, and Tyger, Tyger burning bright, In the forests of the night, also To see a world in a grain of sand, And heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, And eternity in an hour.

In our two final railway arches Southbank Mosaics have created panels depicting their own interpretation of Blake’s paintings and poems. We paused to reflect that if Blake’s contemporaries had considered his paintings mad, what would they think of the painted graffiti in the Leake Street arches?

We walked on to the Thames through a park created in the grounds of Lambeth Palace.

Turning into Leake Street underneath the railway arches we saw the incredible art works and graffiti up the walls and over the roof throughout the tunnel. Anyone is allowed to paint here – just spray on over what is already there.

 (Report Anita Butt, Photos: Maria Buckley)

All smiles in the churchyard of St John's Waterloo

Mosaic near Waterloo Station

The Owl & The Pussycat mosaic

 All about Astley's Circus

Flats names after Victorian Archbishops of Canterbury Archibald Tait and Edward Benson

Konditor & Cook top class bakery and cookery school

Commemorating a bakery bombing in WWII

Konditor & Cook - naughty but nice

The Violin Factory

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Peabody Flats

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Mosaic seat in St John's churchyard

Commemorating Emma Cons founder of the Old Vic

Ghost of an air-raid shelter

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Southbank Mosaics' interpretation of a William Blake Painting

In Roupell Street

Old Vic foundation plaque

The cello factory

Corner of St John's Churchyard

 

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SOUTH KENSINGTON MEWS

 

AUGUST - The walk started at St Mary Abbot’s Church. Abbot’s is derived from the Abbot of Abingdon who founded the church in about 1100 when Kensington was ‘near’ London. The current church designed by George Gilbert Scott, dates from the 1860s. The steeple, a copy of St Mary Redcliffe, Bristol, is the tallest spire in London. There is a carpeted royal pew for the residents of Kensington Palace which is in the parish. As the coffin of Diana, Princess of Wales left the Palace in 1997 it was the bell of St Mary Abbot’s that could be heard tolling. Following a narrow passage lined with ‘trendy’ shops a blue plaque commemorated Ezra Pound (1885-1972). Born in Idaho when the state was not yet been admitted as 43rd State of the Union, he came to London in his early twenties and soon made his name as an exponent of literary modernism and became a friend of many writers of the time. He moved to Italy in the 1930s and became involved in Fascism, being condemned as a traitor and put on trial and finally committed to a mental asylum after WWII.

We wandered on admiring tiny lanes full of houses with lovely gardens finding one or two enterprising commercial premises tucked away in unexpected places including a bespoke cycle shop and a used car showroom with a stunning display of top of the range veteran

cars. Opposite the church in Eldon Road was a plaque to Edward Corbould (1815-1905) watercolourist and one time art tutor to Queen Victoria’s children. Prince Albert was a fan and bought Corbould’s painting The Woman Taken in Adultery. Down a small flight of steps we found the long, elegant Kynance Mews with colourful houses and boundary archways indicating the extent of the original estates which were sold off to develop South Kensington in the 1960s.

"Unfurl" an artwork by Ellis O’Connell was commissioned by local residents in 2000. In Canning Place Tancred Borenius (1885-1948), first Professor of History of Art at University College London and a diplomat during WWII when he helped promote better relations between Finland and Britain, was commemorated by a blue plaque. And a little further on another blue plaque for Sir Benjamin Baker, best known for designing the Forth Road Bridge, and who was also involved in the construction of the first Aswan (Low) Dam and the London underground system.

On through more mews to Queen’s Gate Terrace and the Gloucester Road and after lunch finally Petersham Mews, Atherstone Mews to finish at the more mundane Cromwell Road tube station.                 (Report: Anita Butt; Photos: Maria Buckley)

 

Blue plaques.

St Mary Abbot's Church entrance.

St Mary Abbot's Church.

Adam & Eve Mews.

The Meeting Point of Radley and Lexham Mews.

Another archway.

"Unfurl" an art work by Ellis O'Connell, 2000.

A more recent development of luxury apartments.

A tree more usually found in India where it provides ample shade and the focus of many legends.

Entry to one of the walled estates sold off in the development of Knightsbridge in the late 1800s.

Front door of the artist Edward Corbould's Victorian villa.

Do not park in front of Sir Benjamin Baker's residence.

 

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RIVER WESTBOURNE

 

JUNE - From Paddington Station we set off downhill passing Conduit Mews where a spring supplied water to the City of London from 1471 to 1812. Its name, Bayard’s Watering or bays watering (bays being horses) gave us what we know as Bayswater today. A blue plaque commemorates Tommy Handley (1892-1949). During WWII his comedy show ITMA (It’s that Man Again) featured Mrs Mopp the office cleaner and her catch phrase “Can I do you now sir?” It was the most popular radio show of its time. Crossing through Marlborough Gate into Hyde Park we found the drinking fountain featuring two Hugging Bears. The Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough Association founded in 1859 provided free drinking water for both people and cattle. Have we come full circle with drinking fountains being provided once again to help combat the scourge of plastic water bottles? An ornate pump house at the head of the Italian Gardens provided water for the Serpentine lakes. The gardens were created by Prince Albert for Queen Victoria in 1860. A statute of Dr Jenner who invented the smallpox vaccine watches over the garden.

The area now known as Hyde Park was once owned by the Abbot of Westminster Abbey and the river that flowed through it was partially dammed to create fishponds. Henry VIII seized the land, raised the dam and the park became a royal hunting ground. In 1689 William II created Kensington Palace. Hyde Park was the site of the Great Exhibition in 1851 before its removal to Crystal Palace. Despite its name the Serpentine is not snake shaped. As the Westbourne flowed through the park it was formerly called the River Serpentine and the lake was named after it. The naturally shaped lake we see today was created in 1730 by Queen Caroline as a water feature for the new Kensington Palace. In June 2018 a huge new sculpture was towed into position on the lake. Created by Christo it is called The London Mastaba and consists of 7,506 painted oil barrels.

Is it an ‘affront to nature’ or a barrel of fun? The view through the Henry Moore sculpture, inspired by a fragment of bone, to Kensington Palace is one of the longest uninterrupted views in London.

After lunch at the lakeside café we walked on down through The Dell, to Rotten Row and then South Carriage Drive beneath which is a huge brick line cavern where the Westbourne is joined by overflow from the Serpentine and the Tyburn Brook which runs down from Marble Arch. Out of the park through the Albert Gate, we crossed Knightsbridge into Wilton Place where we found a blue plaque commemorating the Lily Langtree one of Edward VII’s mistresses. In Kinnerton Street we found 8 little dead-end mews on the Duke of Westminster’s estate. On a wall near the end of Kinnerton Street Water’s Murmur a steel relief depicts the route of the Westbourne from Paddington to the Thames, created by Julien Stock in 2009 and cut using a water jet. In Motcomb Street only the façade of the Pantechnicon remains to remind us of the supposedly fire-proof warehouse burnt down in 1874. It supplied everything from furniture, pictures, carriages, toys and wine and storage. To describe what they sold they named it Pantechnicon from the Greek (pan – all : and techne - art), subsequently giving us the name pantechnicon for removal vans. On to Pont Street – another bridge here - probably given a French name to make the new development sound more chic and attractive.

On, passing Cadogan Hall and Holy Trinity Sloane Square where an absolutely huge stained glass window by Sir Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris led John Betjeman to describe the church as the Cathedral of the Arts and Crafts Movement. In Sloane Square Station a 13 ft dia iron pipe above the platform is the conduit for the Westbourne River on its way to the Thames at Chelsea. The pipe survived the bombing of the station in 1940

(Report: Anita Butt; Photos: Maria Buckley)

 

Henry Moore - abstract sculpture inspired by a fragment of bone

Brook Street Mews

Blue plaque - Tommy Handley WII Broadcaster

Vintage Rolls converted to ice cream van

The usual crew

Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Walk marker

Statue of Dr Jenner inventor of smallpox vaccine

Another Mews

And another mews

Hugging Bears statue - drinking water fountain from 1939

The 'Italian' Garden

The original Pump House to keep water in the lakes

Blue Plaque Lily Langtree mistress of King Edward VII

View into a private garden

The 'Italian' Garden

Another mews

New floating sculpture for the serpentine nearing completion

Illusional fancy brickwork in Cadogan Lane

 

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TYBURN RIVER

 

MARCH After hurrying across Marylebone Road – recently identified as the most polluted street in London – found ourselves in the peaceful Paddington Street Gardens, formerly St George’s Burial ground. The land was purchased and consecrated in 1733 and up to the 1850s there were more than 110,000 burials, some as deep as 14 metres. The majority of the tombstones were removed when the gardens were converted to recreational use in 1885. The charming Statue of a Street Orderly Boy was presented to the gardens by a local Alderman in 1943. The Garden has won prizes in the London Garden Squares Competition on more than one occasion – most recently in 2017.

The River Tyburn rises near Hampstead and flows into the Thames at Vauxhall Bridge and in the past was tapped to provide water to the City of London. Although we will follow its route it is nowhere visible above ground.

In Moxon Street the Howard De Walden Estate, built between 1888-92, originally housed some of the area’s working class poor who had previously lived on the same site in miserable slum dwellings. Around the corner in Garbutt Place a blue plaque marked the place where Octavia Hill – housing reformer and co-founder of the National Trust – began her work in 1864 by taking the leases of three houses in Marylebone also with the intention of improving housing for the poor.

St James’ church in George Street was originally the chapel of the Spanish Embassy, at that time in Hartford House now the Wallace Collection. In the 1880s when £30,000 had been raised for a new building the current site became available for exactly £30,000 and it was snapped up so the project could go ahead. It is well used and maintained – in fact a funeral prevented our

going in – and John Paul Getty gave a generous donation having been visited by the parish priest while a patient in a nearby clinic.

Marylebone takes its name from the old village of St Mary-le-Bourne (Tyburn) and following the river down the twisting Marylebone Lane we passed the shop of Paul Rothe & Son established in 1900 and still run by his son Paul and great grandson Stephen. The windows were full of a wide range of jams and chutneys. The boutiques on Marylebone Lane proved a great temptation to some of the walkers. On through St Christopher’s Place we crossed Oxford Street, looking left and right to see the low point for the Tyburn. Crossing into Mayfair, in Duke Street we found a listed Electricity sub-station, the entry point to a raised garden with seats, statues and restaurants. On the corner of Weigh House Street stands the stunning Victorian King’s Weigh House Chapel designed by Alfred Waterhouse 1889-91. Once a Congregational Church founded above the original weights and measures office it is currently a cathedral for the Ukrainian Catholic Church in England.

Up Brook Street (another watery name) to Grosvenor Street, crossing into Grosvenor Hill we found a plaque to the 1960s fashion photographer Terence Donovan who died in 1996 – famous for his photos of Twiggy and Brigitte Bardot. Nearby three statues by Neil French, commissioned by Grosvenor Estates in 2012, depict Donovan ‘shooting’ Twiggy and a shopper passing by loaded with carrier bags. Crossing Bruton Street where Queen Elizabeth II was born we reached Berkeley Square. At the Lansdowne Club in Fitzmaurice Place a blue plaque commemorates Gordon Selfridge who died in Putney in 1947 in relative poverty.

 

Turning into Curzon Street we dived into Shepherd Market. The very heart of Mayfair the site of the earlier charter fair was once fairly poor farm land. It consists of a minute square and a small piazza and a few surrounding streets. Owned and laid out by Edward Shepherd in 1735-46 it is an example of how carefully 18c developers considered their tenants, providing shops, a market, a chapel (now gone) and taverns. It retains the character of a self-contained village. Until the 1970s Shepherd

Street was one of the most notorious ’red-light’ districts in London, until an act of parliament in the 1970s swept the girls off the street. Kitty Fisher – a wealthy courtesan - may have lived at No.36 in the mid 1700s. She was reputedly very beautiful and made a huge fortune, reported at the time to spend £12,000 a year and the first of her social class to employ liveried servants. She was painted by Joshua Reynolds and many others. She is immortalised in the nursery rhyme

Lucy Lockett lost her pocket (lost her lover)

Kitty Fisher found it (took him over)

Not a penny was there in it,

Only ribbon round it.

Lucy Lockett was a barmaid at the Cock Inn in Fleet Street. Pocket is middle English for a pouch or small bag, the implication of the rhyme could be that Lucy Lockett made very little money as opposed to Kitty Fisher at the top end of the market. She died young of course probably from lead poisoning from the white paste make-up popular at the time.

The walk ended at Green Park where the hidden Tyburn flows on past Buckingham Palace.

(Report: Anita Butt, Photos: Maria Buckley)

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Top (left to right): The Street Orderly Boy (Street Cleaner) by Donato Barcaglia of Milan (1849-1930)., The Laundry Block - Howard De Walden Estate 1888. Block B Howard De Walden Estate 1888.

Above (left to right): Blue plaque to Octavia Hill. St James' Spanish Place - originally the RC chapel of the Spanish Embassy. Paul Rothe Grocers in earlier days.

Below left: Original entrance to Sarsden Buildings - social housing by Octavia Hill, Kings Weigh House Chapel on Duke Street, Shop Front - Paul Rothe - Grocers in Marylebone Lane since 1900

Bottom (left to right): Raised Gardens and Restaurants on Duke Street. 'US' being photographed by Terence Donovan and Maria Buckley. Around Shepherd Market

 

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Saturday, 22 September 2018